By Akbar Ganji
Read Online or Download The Road to Democracy in Iran (Boston Review Books) PDF
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Additional resources for The Road to Democracy in Iran (Boston Review Books)
We must not be timid or small-minded, even when we are weak. At every step we must think of moral victory. We can create a new psychology, leading to activism on a grand social scale. And only thus can we change the fight for freedom from a desperate fantasy to a lively, hopeful, and creative struggle.
The 19 rights of the Other are complementary to my own rights. I must fight for the rights of those who have no right to speak, no right to live as they wish, those who are humiliated, and those who are deemed second-class citizens. We can thus see that if the struggle for human rights is intertwined with the democratic struggle, then genuine social progress is possible. Some in Iran in recent years have claimed that in the age of modernity there is a division of labor, and that intellectuals should not pay the price for what should be the people’s own responsibility, or the responsibility of civic institutions that defend human rights.
Our utilitarianism is not of the positive or classic type associated with Jeremy Bentham; instead it is similar to the negative utilitarianism advocated by Karl Popper. We do not focus on affording the maximum pleasure or utility to the maximum number of people. Rather, we humbly suggest that our goal should be the greatest reduction of pain and suffering for the largest number of people. And we are referring to the kind of experience the people themselves consider painful, rather than those declared to be painful by ideologies and doctrines.